Yesterday I wrote about whether McCain and Obama were playing politics in their responses to the financial crisis and the scheduling of the first debate. My answer was that of course they were, but that there is principle and personality involved, as well.
Now, as we await further word on whether Congress can finally get its act together and agree to a package that will calm Wall Street while simultaneously protecting the American people from having to foot a huge bill (and perhaps, dare we ask, to prevent future crises of a similar nature from getting to the point of needing such heroic measures), we hear that the Presidential debate is on tonight.
Good, fine, whatever. The timing of the debate is a matter of little consequence, IMHO.
What is far more important are the goings-on in Congress, some of which are clearly partisan. I am especially incensed by the posturing of Barney Frank, who likened McCain to Andy Kaufman in a Mighty Mouse costume, saying McCain “doesn’t know anything about it” (“it” being the Congressional negotiations and the crisis).
Of course, we all would love to hear just what Barney Frank knew about “it,” and when he knew it. But don’t sit on a hot stove till he comes clean. And don’t count on the MSM (with the exception of lonely Fox News) to ask him. The Anchoress quite aptly characterizes Frank as “a trapped animal trying to distract the hunters toward anyone but him.” So far the distraction seems to be working.
And then there’s Harry Reid, a man for whom every cell in his body and every word that comes out of his mouth is political and only political. True to form, Reid said it was all John McCain’s fault. Apparently everyone in Congress was playing together nicely until McCain the big bully came onto the schoolyard and started a pack of trouble.
Yeah, right. Does anyone on earth—even the most liberal in-the-tank-for-Obama Democrat—believe that?
What’s really happening behind closed doors in Congress? This report (even if it is by ABC News) seems a good start. Surprise, surprise–there’s arguing, wrangling, and carrying on from each side.
One thing is crystal clear—there was no agreement before McCain came aboard, nor did he jettison one. Another thing that’s clear is that the crisis is both urgent and complex, not a winning combination. Something must be done quite soon, if we are to believe Paulson and Bernake. But the details are extremely important, even vital, and reasonable people can (and will) differ on what might be the best solution.
Therefore, getting to an agreement would be difficult in the best of circumstances. But Congress does not represent the best of circumstances.
It would be wonderful if all the legislators in Washington really had the welfare of the American people at heart rather than pandering to their bases or harming the other side. But that’s never going to happen. The best we can hope for is that the system by which Congress “operates,” flawed though it may be, will in the end justify the faith of our Founding Fathers that from such wrangling can emerge a consensus that will benefit the nation as a whole.